Cubs Notes: New Front Office hire, PEDs in Miami, Cedeno, Bourn, Hairston

Cubs Notes: New Front Office hire, PEDs in Miami, Cedeno, Bourn, Hairston

A few quick notes to start your Tuesday...

  • The Cubs have hired sabermetric guru Tom Tango to do exclusive work for them.  Tango (a psuedonym), is an innovative statistician who has come up with such now commonly used statistics such as FIP and wOBA, two stats which we use here at Cubs Den frequently.  He published "The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball", which I own.  In fact, I used his theories to write my series on the Cubs lineup construction last season.  Obviously I'm  big fan and, even if you haven't heard of him, you've certainly been exposed to his work if you've been a regular reader here at Cubs Den.
  • The Cubs are hiring, by the way.  It's for Director of Research and Development in their Baseball Operations Department.  Here are the qualifications.
  • There's lots of buzz down in Miami about a PED clinic that is supplying drugs to some of the biggest names in sports.  Among them are Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, and Yasmani Grandal.  The report also mentions 21 game winner Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz.  Some twitter speculation has already started among Cubs fans with regard to Cruz.  If they were to lose him, that would be the second big power bat they lost this offseason (Josh Hamilton earlier).  Could that motivate them to consider Alfonso Soriano as a backup plan?  It's likely too early for that now, but it's interesting to note that both Nick Cafardo and Carrie Muskat both mentioned Texas as a possible suitor for Soriano recently.
  • Another former Cubs SS prospect will now try to win a ring with the Cardinals.  Ronny Cedeno signed to a 1 yr/1.15M deal with the chance to make $850K more in incentives.  He'll likely be their utility guy but could get significant playing time if Rafael Furcal isn't ready or gets hurt again during the season.
  • For the Bourn-again segment out there, the CF has met with the Mets, who are still reluctant to part with a first round pick.  For his part, Michael Bourn still wants a 5 year/$75M deal, though he said he'd be open to an opt-out clause.  In case anyone was wondering whether Scott Boras was ready to accept a pillow deal, that certainly doesn't appear to be the case.  At least not yet.  He's still negotiating as if he holds all the cards.  As all of you know I'm not a fan of signing Bourn, but I'm finding this negotiation process fascinating.  I'm interested to see how this shakes out and how it will affect the CBA going forward.
  • The Phillies signed Yuniesky Betancourt, in case there were any lingering fears he might somehow stumble on to the Cubs roster.
  • The deal for Scott Hairston, according to Jon Heyman, is for $5M over 2 years.  He has a chance to make $1M more in incentives.  Hard not to like at that price.
  • I'm getting some great stuff from you in emails in terms of questions and topic ideas.  If you have any you like to share, please comment and I'll do another mailbag in the next 2 days.

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  • fb_avatar

    Very happy that we were never in on Betancourt like some sources reported earlier.....We'd be better off putting a folding chair out at SS and duck taping a glove to it....

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Ha! I think they should have tried that instead of Dave Kingman for LF in the 70s.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Loved watching Kingman hit when he was hot.

  • In reply to Raymond:

    He could hit it a mile. Quite possibly one of the surliest Cubs of all time too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He was a high-school and Legion teammate of mine. We used him as a pitcher ! He was raw, just coming into his own as a hitter, but even then his big swing had a lot of power and a lot of misses. Heckuva basketball player for us too. Quiet kid even then.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    They're showing that crazy Cubs-Phillies game as #20 on baseball's All-Time games on MLB Network.

    If you haven't seen it, that 3rd bomb by Kingman is really something.
    To this day I've never seen a ball get hit farther.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Good article on Fangraphs on Betancourt (hope it's OK to link to them John):

    Betancourt has had alot of writeups on fangraphs over the years, mostly around how much he stinks. This is no exception

  • For the mailbag. If any of the non-roster (non 40-man roster)
    players make the team, what do they do with the 40-man
    roster. Are any worth keeping in AAA for insurance

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Thanks E.

  • If Tom Tango is a pseudonym. the Cubs would have done better hiring Kevin Calculus. Or at least Stanley Stats.

  • In reply to jack:

    Excellent point :)

  • In reply to jack:

    would you wanna do a Tango with Calculus or Stats?

  • Do you think that perhaps Gio Gonzalez's problems might lead the Nats to look for another pitcher? I don't think that a fifty game suspension really is not too much of a deterrent.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    That's a possibility as well, but they didn't panic when they were going to shut down Strasburg, so my guess is they won't make a major move if it happens.

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    With the Hairston deal official, how long before they make roster room?

  • In reply to Raymond:

    I'm not sure they've made if official. Heyman dug up the numbers, but it's still considered an "agreement to sign" as far as I know. Could be another 2 -4 weeks again for all we know.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You're right as usual, John. Not signed yet.

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    For those interested, and with the time, Levine takes Cub questions at noon

  • In reply to Raymond:

    What will be the over / under number of how many times Levine will brag during the show that he will be in Arizona for the next month?

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    In reply to Raymond:

    Levine's chats are always good for a good laugh, but that's about it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Zachary Myers:

    Send in a serious question.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Raymond:

    I always do but he tends to answer the same questions every week.

  • Ben Badler ‏@BenBadler
    The first Google search result for "Cacique," the alleged Bosch nickname for A-Rod, is for a line of Lane Bryant plus-size lingerie.

    I'm assuming it is what Jeter bought him on their last anniversary.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:


    Lots of denials going on right now about Bocsh/A-Rod connection as we speak. Joel Sherman tweeting up a storm.

  • I think the sentence should have read "when" Rafael Furcal gets hurt again this season. Did not know that was you filming at Kane County last summer. Looked like a great atmosphere, the crowd sure went crazy.

  • Haha! I stand corrected on Furcal.

    My shot wasn't very good, it was a little grainy, but I saw it on the Kane County site, which was pretty cool.

    The best part of my video was the audio reaction in the background, including my own!

  • Don't ask me how I know this, but there is a doctors office ( pill mill) located in the North Palm Beach / Jupiter area that supplied many ballplayers during the Spring training games. The Cardinals share a stadium with the Marlins in the area......

    i believe MLB will be taking more aggressive testing on players this spring.......Texas is looking at a Stanton trade more than ever.....Marlins is asking a ton a talent for Stanton, which includes Olt.

    Theo has to have his 40 man roster set before the pitchers & catchers report.......something in the next 72 hours will happen.

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    John, I share your fascination with the Bourn/Lohse process; not out of interest to sign them (we won't), but just on the impact of new CBA, and what blowback there will be from the lack of ability of these guys to get a contract. The impact will be felt all over baseball, I predict, either in rules change, or in next offseason clubs having more leverage with players worth a qualifying offer.

    At least Bourn is talking to someone; with Lohse, there is radio silence, except the Cards saying they will not re-sign him. While I think Lohse is overrated, without that draft pick comp you can be sure he's signed somewhere already, probably for at least a couple years.

    Lohse has 10 days-ish to find a contract before ST starts for most pitchers; I think he may be on outside looking in

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    In reply to Zonk:

    As a side note, I am a bit surprised Joe Saunders doesn't have a team. He isn't a great pitcher, but he's good enough to be at the back of somebody's rotation. No idea what he's asking for, but I have to believe he can be had cheap right now, on a 1-year flyer.

    We're full-up, but lots of teams could use lefty innings sponge like Saunders

    Everyone else on the all-FA team is either DH material, coming off injury (Brian Wilson), or tied to draft picks, or is very marginal

  • In reply to Zonk:

    The problem with the CBA is that they made those top picks that much more valuable. You can't sign guys over slot in the later rounds anymore, not like before anyway. It's one of those unintended consequences.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Exactly.....and obviously even Boras miscalculated the value that clubs would place on those picks. The value is much higher than it was in the past.

  • I was at the Kane County game in the dining area down left field line. It was incredible to see. I told my nephew that he should have fimed it on his phone and he said he was in such awe he fell asleep at the switch. The next day we saw several versions. It remined me a bit of the one Glenn Allen Hill hit on the roof on Waveland. Truly awesome! I'm planning on going to 5 - 10 games at Kane County this year to see some of our greatest prospects. There should be a very good prospect at virtually every position. Maybe catcher the only exception and one OF spot if Soler goes to Daytona.

  • In reply to cubman:

    Keep an eye on Contreras at catcher. He's raw but he's really athletic for a catcher, can really move behind the dish and has a good arm. Has some gap power too. He's a long shot because he's raw, but he could be the type of guy where it all comes together quickly.

  • In reply to cubman:

    What about Reggie Golden? Boise or Kane County?

  • The Miami story may have implications for the Cubs, too. Among them:
    The Rangers may want to hang on to Mike Olt more than ever, to use him in RF if Cruz is affected. (Cruz is also a FA in '14, so his time in Texas may be over anyways.) Olt's coming to the Cubs seems less likely today.
    If Gio is affected, the Nats may want another starter. Garza anyone?
    I'm glad we didn't go for Jasmani Grandal....

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I just saw the earlier post on Gio Gonzalez, sorry I missed that before I posted.
    Let's hope that a change in possible trade targets is the ONLY South-Florida implication involving the Cubs.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Well, at least Campana is probably not involved. ;>)

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    You know...I never thought about it that way. Lots of people assuming it means they'll trade for a veteran, but they could also gamble and reload with low cost rookies like Olt and Profar.

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    Hi John,

    I mentioned this while you were sick, so I won't hold the lack of response against you. What are the chances at this point that Bourn gets moved via sign and trade? Seems like a plausible option for a contender who would rather deal in certainties, than risk losing a pick that they may later regret when looking at their draft board.

  • In reply to Jordan Dutcher:

    All Mlb has to do is in the next CBA allow teams to void contracts of PED offenders If test is positive and verified by 2 neutral testing labs. That would get the cheaters out if teams had the means to in effect fire .a player for cheating .

  • In reply to Jordan Dutcher:

    Thanks for understanding Jordan. Missed a lot more comments/questons than I usually do while I was sick. Stamina wasn't there. Would answer a few,, then nap for awhile. I'm getting back into blogging shape though :)

    I'm not sure if I'm understanding you correctly, but sign and trade isn't an option in MLB. Once you sign a player, you're bound to him for a certain period of time or until a certain date (the time frame escapes me right now).

    I do think he should be strongly considered by a team like the Orioles or the Mariners, though. They have some flexibility in that they're both contenders (at least the Mariners are trying to keep up with the AL West), but there are enough question marks where they can trade him and recoup value later if they fall out of contention.

    He's running out of options and insisting on 5 years is going to make i difficult for any team to make the investment, contender or not, considering the expected regression.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jordan Dutcher:

    You cannot trade a newly signed free agent until June 1 or thereabouts. This would be a violation of FA rules.

    The sign and trade has been raised before, but MLB is decidedly against such scenarios anyway

  • In reply to Zonk:

    That's the date...thanks, Zonk. Couldn't remember for some reason.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John and Zonk. I was not aware of the rule. Wow that makes the new rules even more team friendly. I cannot believe the players signed on to this new CBA, what a win for the owners.

  • I am thrilled that they hired Tom Tango. The Book is brilliant. I wonder if he will have any influence on Sveum.

  • In reply to BudMan:

    Agreed. I think there should be some crossover between Tango's work and Sveum's job, especially when it comes to strategy and lineups.

  • BTw, a little side note on the PED crowd. Any coincidence they all have similiar injuries?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Possibly conincidince mutant beast,... but my guess is NOT.

    Short-term gain for long-term pain,... much like those who cheat often get.

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    John, any chance Tango is coming in to help build that specialized computer database they talked about early on?

  • In reply to Just Win:

    It's already up as far as I know, but I'm assuming it's going to be a perpetual work in progress and I'd have to think he'd have some input as far as the data that goes in.

  • Random Mailbag question: Assuming Junior Lake goes to AAA, where should he play defensively?

    Could he be groomed for a "Super Sub" role playing SS, 3B, 3 OF positions? Should he continue to develop at SS to maximize possible trade value?

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